Have you ever wondered how you could follow or support a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel? Do you know the content you want more of is out there, you’re just not sure how best to access it? Are you tired of just hoping you come across it again on Pinterest? In this post, I’m covering how to follow a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel.
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HOW TO FOLLOW A BLOG, PODCAST, OR YOUTUBE CHANNEL
I know for some people out there, seeing the title of this post might prompt an eyeroll – “Of course I know how to follow a blog. That’s easy.”
I would have thought so too at one point. But I was talking to someone and mentioning my blog, and she said “That sounds great. What’s the best way to follow it?”
It reminded me that what I consider to be simple is not always as easy for others. I’ve been in the blogging world for over half my life – since blogs became A Thing. I checked out peoples’ blogs on Xanga and LiveJournal. I mourned the loss of Google Reader. I’ve seen a shift from content that focused on the blogger (“25 Facts About Me”) to content that focused on the reader (“25 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Life Today” – actually, that sounds like a good post idea) as we switched from using blogs as an almost voyeuristic tool to get a glimpse of someone’s life, to a means of learning how we can best improve our own.
So – for those who don’t know how, here’s how to find and follow the content you want.
HOW TO FOLLOW A BLOG
Generally speaking, you can follow a blog through three main ways – by following their social media, by signing up to their email list, and by using a feed aggregator.
FOLLOW THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA
Depending on where you like to “hang out” online, you can probably find your favorite blog there. For example, I’m on Facebook and Instagram (I technically have a Twitter account too, although I don’t really use it).
The upside to following their social media accounts? It’s a fun way to get to know someone. You can really see a glimpse into their life. I like seeing things like Instagram Stories for that reason.
The downside? You (and they) are subject to – the algorithm. Social media sites want to show you the content you’re interested in. They judge this by how you interact with an account. If you’re not interacting with an account, it’ll stop showing it to you very often. So – if you want to continue seeing it in your feed, like those Facebook posts and double-tap on those Instagram posts! Leave a comment and let the blogger know what you liked about the post. This is a great way to support someone, because when you interact with the post, it tells the algorithms that “this post is interesting” and it will help it appear in front of more people.
JOIN THEIR EMAIL LIST
One way to get around the algorithm – join their email list! Most bloggers send an email out once a week or so, and they’ll include what’s new on their site. They often will include free things if you sign up for their email list – for example, I have offers for things like my ADHD Meal Planner printable or “How to Be Productive as a Stay-At-Home-Mom.”
I feel obliged to go ahead and drop my email signup box here…
The upside is, this is definitely the best way to stay on top of your favorite blogger’s content. Bloggers put a lot of work into getting people to sign up for their email list.
The downside – if you get a lot of emails, this can get overwhelming. I’ve got some great techniques about inbox management coming up in a future post though!
USE A FEED AGGREGATOR
What’s a feed aggregator? It’s a website or app that takes content from many different sources and brings them into one place.
While the best feed aggregator I’ve come across is easily Google Reader – it was decommissioned years ago. RIP, Google Reader. I have personally used Feedly (feedly.com) and Bloglovin’ (bloglovin.com).
Both are good quality and free. I personally use and prefer Bloglovin’ – as you can guess, it’s made specifically for blogs. I find it really easy to use and I like that it has an app (for both iPhone and Android). It means when I’m on the go, I can easily read a blog post if I have a few minutes (like in the school pickup line).
The upside of this is that it makes it SUPER convenient to follow your favorite blogs. The downside is, if you follow too many blogs, it can get overwhelming when there’s a bunch of new content to read! That’s part of why I prefer Bloglovin’ – it only keeps content from the last thirty days in your feed, and you can even set it to show the oldest content first.
HOW TO FOLLOW A PODCAST
While you could just go to the podcast’s host website on a weekly basis and see if there’s something new – that’s time-consuming and inefficient.
And mothers are way too busy for inefficiency!
Your best bet for following a podcast is using an app. I asked around about this because I, personally, have always used Apple’s Podcasts app on my iPhone. From what I saw, there are a few primary apps people like to use: Overcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. There are others out there as well.
I like using the Podcasts app on my iPhone because almost everyone will upload their podcasts to it. However, looking at Overcast and talking to people who use it in the course of writing this makes me think perhaps I should switch – it has some really neat features! Plus, it’s set up so anything uploaded to Apple Podcasts will go to it. It’s free, with ads for podcasts, but you can pay $10 a year for an ad-free version.
Update: I did switch to Overcast and I love it! Highly recommend. My favorite feature is that you can set customizations for each podcast. Does someone talk really slow and you want to speed it up? You can. Annoyed with a really long intro to a particular podcast? You can automatically skip it. It’s great!
I feel like the app you use is such a personal choice, you should really check out different apps and see what one you find easiest to use.
DO PODCASTS COST ANYTHING?
Yes and no.
Podcasts cost the creator time and money to produce, plus hosting, possibly editing, or other fees. Most podcast creators choose to have sponsored ads on their podcasts in order to make money, or they use it as a way to point people to their blog or products.
Most podcasts are free to listen to, although you might hear ads. Some podcasters have gone the premium route, where they have their podcast on things like Stitcher Premium, and you pay a few dollars a month to access it. Some choose to have extra features available to premium subscribers, where sponsoring them for a few dollars a month might get you bonus episodes or even swag.
Do you have to pay to listen to a podcast? I know of one podcast that has moved to a subscription-only model, where people pay $1 a month to listen to it – which isn’t bad if you enjoy the podcast. I foresee more podcasts doing that in the future. But for now, most of the time, they’re free for the listener.
HOW TO FOLLOW A YOUTUBE CHANNEL
This is perhaps the easiest one of all. In order to follow a YouTube channel, you need a Google account. Just make sure you’re logged in, watch a video for whatever YouTube channel you enjoy, and click “Subscribe” in the lower right corner below the video.
If you want, you can click the little bell icon, and YouTube will notify you when the channel has uploaded a new video.
YouTube is free but does have advertising. If you pay for a YouTube premium plan, it skips the ads.
One of the easiest ways to support creators on YouTube? Hit the “thumbs up” button on the video. Just like liking a Facebook or Instagram post, it tells the algorithms that people find this content to be valuable, so it shares it with more people.
If you find value in the content someone is creating, supporting them in these ways is amazing! The even better thing you can do – recommend them to your friends!
Content creators work hard to produce things for their audiences. In an ever-noisy world, sometimes it’s hard to be noticed. If you find value in what someone is putting out, people you know may as well – for instance, I’ve recommended bloggers I follow to other people. Sharing the things that you enjoy or find helpful is so amazing for the people who work so hard to make it!
Tell me in the comments – who do you enjoy following, via blog, podcast, or YouTube?